Saturday, September 23, 2017

Wallet Card #6- Diamondbacks Game

Last night my daughter’s choir was part of a group of middle school choirs who sung the national anthem at the Diamondback’s game. She got in free and parents got tickets at half price (first level outfield bleachers) through the school.

The game was a barn burner of a game and ended with the Diamondbacks winning 13-11 and it seemed like everyone hit a homerun except for the one guy I wanted to see hit a homer, Giancarlo Stanton. There were 7 homeruns (3 Miami and 4 Arizona) with Miami’s Marcell Ozuna knocking two and Arizona’s Chris Iannetta also knocking two with one of those being a grand slam in the 6th that put the D-Backs ahead 12-9. It was definitely an entertaining game that I got to enjoy with my baby girl.

Wallet card Griffey made a couple of appearances but because we were sitting in the outfield I didn't get the best pictures, here he is with Stanton at bat.

Here he is with Goldschmidt at bat

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Art Gallery- 2014 SBay Super Breaks President Gerald Ford

This month’s Art Gallery display comes from the amazing artist Jay Pangan III; who has worked with most of the major companies from Topps to Leaf, Cryptozoic and Unstoppable Cards. His work is amazing and I would say his work is up there with some of the best illustrators.

Pangan has a couple of different styles with his pencil sketches being the most common but I am a much bigger fan of his color work. The card is of President Ford and his wife Betty and is done in ink and colored pencil for the 2014 SBay Super Break release. SBay is best known for putting anything and everything in their high end boxes with some running well over $5,000 each. The sketch cards were just an extra card and was not included in the item count in each box.

I picked up the card because any time I can get a pretty cool President card for under $7 I am happy to include it in my collection.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Here It Is... Post #2,000 With A Contest!

It has taken 8 years, 3 months and 12 days but today is my 2,000th post on Pack War.

My first post was on June 6, 2009 and I started with a simple post about some ideas that I had for the blog, I honestly did not even consider the future of the blog. When I started I had been reading a couple of blogs regularly and I liked the way that collectors were interacting with each other and I wanted to be able to share my story too.

I hadn’t even realized I was this close to 2,000 posts until I was writing up a couple of Question Day posts that I save as drafts and looked over and saw I was at 1,991 published posts and I started wondering if I should just post #2,000 and not make a mention about it, just add it at the end of a regular post or should I do something special? I decided to do something, a giveaway. Nothing big but I wanted to make it special.

Here is what you need to do to be part of the giveaway:

1.      Post here by Sunday 9/24/17 at 11:59 pm PST 

That’s it

The prizes:
1982 Fleer Cal Ripken Jr. rookie card

1993 Ted Williams Buck Leonard autograph

2004 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites Monte Irvin autograph

Awarding of the prizes:
When the contest closes on Sunday 9/24/17 at 11:59pm PST I will run the entire list through three times with the #1 person on each randomization winning a prize.

The person in the #1 position on the first randomization gets first choice
The person in the #1 position on the second randomization gets the second choice
The person in the #1 position on the third randomization gets the remaining card

If it reaches 50 people joining I will add at least 2 additional prizes in which case I will follow the same rules with the awarding of the prizes but with two additional randomizations with the person in the #1 position on each of those randomizations being the winner of a prize.

I close with thanking everyone who has visited Pack War and read my posts. I really do appreciate it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

What Sets Have Jumped The Shark?

Forty years ago on September 20, 1977 during the 5th season of Happy Days in the episode Hollywood: Part 3, Fonzie jumped a shark during a water skiing competition. The episode did extremely well but many years later during a discussion of television shows on the decline, some college students at the University of Michigan, including John Hein, brought up this specific episode as the one where Happy Days was no longer original and fresh.

The term “jump the shark” was born as a description of when something popular begins to no longer be popular. Typically, the expression is used for television or movie sequels but can be used in describing almost anything in pop culture, among other things collecting too. 

I know today is not a normal question day but what sets would you say jumped the shark? This isn’t limited to modern sets but any set/series/product ever made. 

I know there are more, but the only one coming to mind is 2011 Topps Triple Threads when they created manufactured relics for John Henry, Leif Ericson and Pecos Bill. Not only did that bring attention to Topps rehashing Triple Threads designs over and over but unleashed manufactured relics as a “hit” in products.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Another Cavalcade Of Griffey Cards X

Before companies took variations to the extreme you had to have a keen eye to catch the differences and in 1991 Donruss did some slight differences with the borders for the factory sets. Packed out cards had one border and factory sets had a different border, the cards were the same otherwise.

You wouldn’t think that a card that costs a quarter could cause so much frustration to a buyer. The biggest problem is that most sellers don’t notice the difference and don’t list the card as a factory set/border variation card or even worse are the sellers that just grab an image and toss it up assuming all the cards are the same.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Monday Question Day- Feedback Feedback?

Today is question day:

If you use eBay, when do you leave feedback as buyer and as seller?

A simple question today, I am just wondering what other people do in regards to feedback on eBay. As the seller I leave feedback as soon as the buyer pays and as a buyer I leave feedback after I get the item and have a chance to look at it closely.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Wow, That Is A Lot Of Art

There is a web site called Sketch that allows you to load up your sketch card collection for others to see. I had joined the site a while back but never added anything until recently.

I scanned in all of my cards, the fronts only, researched all of the artists and posted them all on the site. When I was done I found that I have 99 sketch cards, I never sat down to count so I figured it would be somewhere around 50 cards or so. This makes sketch cards my fourth largest PC behind Griffey, Bader & Buhner.

I haven’t purchased a sketch card in many months so I am not sure when card #100 will enter my collection but I will make sure to post the accomplishment when it happens.

Since I didn’t know I had 99 cards I wasn’t paying attention to the order that I picked up the cards but this is one of my last couple of cards, an ACEO from Buckshot. I like his style and this Joker is just badass. His official sketch cards tend to run $25 or more so I am fine with getting a personal sketch card. I am guessing this was a commission card and seeing that he has his MySpace listed I will say it was probably a decade or more ago that this card was done.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Injections In My Spine Or A Manufactured Relic, I Got Both For You Today

This morning I started another series of spinal cortisone injections and I am in a lot of pain so today is a one-card post. Each series is three rounds of injections over a five-week period, so I got one round today and will go back in two weeks and then the final round will be two weeks after that. Each round is 3-5 individual injections, today was three injections. This is my 6th series in a little over 3 years with a spinal surgery in the summer of 2015 so this has become a part of my life that while temporarily painful gives me some relief from the spinal degeneration pain for a couple of weeks afterwards.

The card of the day

I am not a fan of most manufactured relics and I keep away from them usually but when it comes to Griffey I will often open my mind when building a collection. I picked this up in July and it is pretty cool, the card is extremely heavy because the medallion is metal and I like that so I decided to add manufactured relics to my Griffey Want List.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Another Cavalcade Of Griffey Cards IX

Normally I don’t consider buying custom cards that I can make but this one is an exception. The card is the cover of the PS4 The Show 17 game but it is a refractor so I thought it was cool. While I could make a card sized cover of the game I have never made a refractor custom card, I haven’t even tried yet, so that is how I ended up with this one in my collection. Eventually I would like to pick up one of the code cards too, I don’t play the game so if I ever come across a used code card I would be happy.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Some Buyers Leave Me With Questions Instead Of Money

A bit of a rant today.

I have cards listed on COMC and I keep up with the pricing, changing them about once a week depending on the market. I have a 2015 Contenders autograph card listed at $1.15, there is only one card cheaper. I got an offer last night of .63 cents, I countered with .85 cents, probably more than fair and considering I paid .60 cents to have it processed by COMC so I was being reasonable. The guy came back with .63 cents again.

Who they hell does that? I mean come up a penny or two but to come back with the same offer I just countered what did he expect? Needless to say I just declined it outright, I probably should have come back with $1.25 just to be an ass.

Monday, September 11, 2017

We Will Always Honor Your Memory

It has been 16 years and the world has changed greatly since 9/11/01 but one thing will never pass and that is the respectful memory of those who lost their lives that day and the families that have been affected.

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Future Of My Collection

With having quite a few medical bills (I am digging out of this hole slowly) I have cut my collecting purchases to a minimum and it has led me to re-evaluate my collection. Over the past few years I have made some changes, both large and small, and I have found that eliminating some of the things I collected made life easier. Since I began the blog in 2009 I have stopped working on set building, cut out a large portion of my non-discretionary purchases, stopped buying boxes/blasters/packs, donated a couple thousand cards and decided to set up primary and secondary collecting goals to keep my collection focused.

I think one thing that has helped greatly was that I set up a Want List in a Word document and if a card is not on that list I normally don’t purchase it. The list is fluid and does change, often, when I purchase a card or find a new card with the occasionally deduction. This list has helped me stay focused on my primary and secondary collections, which have also changed over the year.

The last few days I have been considering the future of my collection, it has been on my mind the last few months really. I had started “secret” PCs, these are personal collections I have not posted much about for whatever reason. For example, my Mariner Moose collection, I picked up a card or two here and there and before I realized it I had became a super collector purely by accident. Over the last year I had started PCing the 2013 Chrome Marshawn Lynch rainbow, Sheamus and Becky Lynch (Irish wrestlers), UFC Conor McGregor (Irish fighter), comic characters Rocket Raccoon, Ant-Man and Radioactive Man (The Simpsons guy).

I just sat down and whittled down my Want List and removed many of those secret PC collections. I will keep what I already have in binders or whatever is currently sitting in my COMC account but I removed any cards from the list that I was on the fence about. It felt good to delete card after card, shortening my list.

My primary PC is now only three athletes; Ken Griffey Jr., Jay Buhner and Ryan Bader in addition to Manfred von Richthofen and sketch cards. Vintage cards (sports and non-sports), movie/comic autographs & relics, Mariner Moose and Rocket Raccoon are all secondary and everything else on my Want List is now “only if it is real cheap” type of cards. This means Steve Largent, Steve Kerr, Randy Couture, Seattle teams and University of Arizona team cards become a third level of collecting.

My Wants List is sitting at 2,049 cards but 1,517 are my Griffey wants, 172 Buhner wants and 93 Ryan Bader wants. So out of that 2,049 total cards 1,782 cards are for my PC guys so I think I have gotten the list under control. Plus with Bader moving to Bellator MMA Topps will not be including him in any future UFC releases which helps keep my list limited to just his past cards. 

In the future, I would also like to work out some trades to clear out some of the cards I have sitting in 5,000-ct boxes. I have roughly 20,000 cards in my collection and probably 15,000 are players, teams and sets that I do not collect. I am selling what I can on eBay and I also just sent my first submission to COMC so that clears out some cards but I have plenty more to go.

Since I can not close a post this long without showing something on cardboard here you go, a recent Griffey pickup:

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Vintage Card Of The Month: 1948 Topps Magic Billy The Kid

This month’s VCoM comes from one of Topps earliest oddball sets, the 1948 Topps Magic release. The 1948 set was made up of 252 cards from sports and non-sports categories and were quite unique in the fact that the card fronts were blank and you got to “develop” the card yourself in a similar fashion to Polaroid film.

After you opened your pack of Hocus Bubble Gum you took your tiny, stamp sized card and dipped it in water. You then laid the wrapper across the blank front of the card, pressed for 10 seconds and then lifted and voila the card had a picture.

This Billy the Kid card is card #7 on the category “S” checklist, which is the Figures of the Wild West portion of the set. Each category was given a letter or number designation and then the cards were numbered based upon that specific checklist. Category “A” checklist was basketball players, category “B” was football players and this ran through Category “T" for general sports athletes. You never knew who you got until you opened the pack but some of the big names in the set were Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Charles Lindberg, George Patton and this guy Billy the Kid.

These cards are very condition sensitive with many of the images fading over the years but my card is very bold and the details are very clear. I really am not a fan of mini cards and these cards are not much bigger than a US stamp but I will make an exception from time to time and this is one of those exceptions.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A One Card Simpsons Post

A one card post today, a Simpsons glow-in-the-dark card. I always enjoy adding new Simpsons cards to my collection and even better when they glow. I believe there are four different glow-in-the-dark cards in the 1993 Skybox Simpsons set and this one I picked up for under $1 plus shipping.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Monday Question Day- $$$?

Today is question day:

What is the most money you ever spent for a card?

Mine was in either late 2006 or early 2007 when I bought my White Whale 1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig #92 for just under $1,200. Sadly, this is the same White Whale that I sold earlier this year to help with medical bills.

Friday, September 1, 2017

A Custom Seven Samurai Set

One of my favorite movies is Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. The movie was made in 1954 and takes place in 1586 in a small farming village that is plagued by bandits.  The farmers meet Kambei, a ronin, and they ask him for help with the bandits and eventually agrees. He collects together a group of six other ronin and spoiler, they defeat the bandits but four of the samurai die during the ensuing battles.

Kurosawa’s is considered one of the top directors and his films are so popular that script writers and directors have emulated his success many times over the past 60+ years. If the plot seems familiar then you have probably seen The Magnificent Seven or Battle Beyond The Stars. If not, then maybe Pixar A Bug’s Life? George Lucas said he even based the original Star Wars trilogy on three of Kurosawa’s movies and there are similarities between Seven Samurai and A New Hope, seven unassuming characters (Luke, Leia, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2) meet up to fight the Empire.

This set is a custom set that I found from a guy in the U.K. and in all it cost less than $10 for the set including shipping. The cards are pretty lightweight cardboard stock but I think he did a nice job with the front design and a nice write up on the card backs. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Sorry Johnny, The Doors Seem To All Be Closed

Oh Johnny Football, will we ever see you don a professional football uniform ever again?

In July Manziel said he is taking things seriously and wants to get back in to the NFL. He said he has cut out is partying and was working out with the intent of playing in the 2017-18 NFL season. He re-hired his former agent Erik Burkardt and Manziel said that multiple NFL teams were seriously talking to him about coming back to the league.

As expected, no NFL team has talked to him and if they did, they are not admitting it. The only team that has talked to him is the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats who had him in their facility last week for a work-out.

It didn’t go well with the statement “Too many red flags” being tossed around the news outlets. According to sources within Hamilton’s front office, Manziel had trouble passing the physical and medical tests, he was not in playing shape and the team didn’t feel his off-field regiment was consistent with someone who wants to play professional football.

Money Manziel has already spread the news that if he doesn’t make it back in to professional football he wants to coach college football. I don’t think he has the demeanor to be a consistent and capable coach and I find it hard to believe that any reputable college would bring him on because he is a huge liability and the media circus that will follow him will be disruptive. Sure, I can see Texas A&M bringing him on as a consultant and pay him $100k to show up at alumni events to sign autographs or a D-III team bring him on to be a QB coach but I think even his coaching aspirations are a bit far fetched.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Bob Hepner AKA Tattoo Bob AKA BC Hepner Is More Of A Horrible Human Being Than Inititally Thought

I wanted to go back and do an update on a post that I had made three weeks ago about Bob Hepner faking sketch cards.

Normally I would not give any attention to person like Hepner and if I did I would limit using his name, I don't like giving attention whores like him any more fuel, but I am using his name and aliases because I hope that when someone looks up his name looking for a commission they see posts like mine were he share the truth about the man. 

When the announcement was made on August 4th by a group of artists that Hepner was faking some of his sketch cards the information was mainly focused on the sketch cards that could be identified as fake as well as a couple of instances of him stealing other people’s work, altering it a bit and claiming that it is his own.

You could figure, based on his Facebook and web site posts, that he is an egotistical person and obviously thinks he is a better artist than he really is but at the time nobody seemed to know how unscrupulous of a person he really is in addition to being a pathological liar.

The thread is up to 19 pages long on Blowout Forums, you can read through it <HERE>, so I won’t go through everything that has been discussed but he has taken money and sent nothing in return, he has accepted commissions for AP cards and blank cover comic books and sent back fake copies in return and then turned around and sold the real AP cards and comic books, he has begged other collectors to send him basic sketch cards so he can give them to his grandkids and then sold the sketch cards as well as erased some of the more basic sketches and put his own fake work on the card and sold it.

It turns out it goes deeper than that, like legally deeper. It turns out he is selling fake autographs, including Harrison Ford and Felicity Jones.

He sold one person a theater poster for Rogue One that was signed by the entire cast that he claimed he got directly from Topps for being one of their artists. Topps later confirmed to the buyer at the recent Orlando Star Wars Celebration that the poster is not a theater poster, it had been doctored to look like one, and it did not come from them and the autographs are not real.

He is selling autographed guitars that he claims the musicians gave him, I saw a Lita Ford “signed guitar, and he is selling paintings that he said were signed by various famous personalities. I am sure there is more out there that hasn’t been discovered yet that will add more to the Bob Hepner garbage dumpster fire.

Early on Brain Gray from Leaf announced he will never use Hepner again but there have not been any other announcements. People have talked to Topps, Upper Deck and Beckett and while they will not make an official announcement they are all aware of what is going on and both Topps and Upper Deck have said he will not be included in any upcoming sets. He was also dropped by a traveling card show and a comic con.

While Hepner has stolen thousands from people one of the saddest stories was a guy I came across on Instagram who had commissioned Hepner to do a superhero piece for his wedding invitations. It was supposed to be a photorealistic piece where his and his fiancĂ©’s face were in place of the superheroes faces. When the guy got back the piece he contacted Bob and told him he was unhappy with it and Bob blocked him. Unfortunately, he didn’t have time to get another drawing done by a real artist because the wedding invitations had to be ordered.

You are not imagining the faces and heads being blurry while the rest of the drawing seems realistic, this is what the guy actually got. 
I don't expect Bob to post here, even though I am sure he is the type of person who Google's himself three times a day just to see his name show up, but if he does it will be as anonymous or a fake name. He has a specific writing style that is easy to identify so there is no question who it will be, he likes to use fake names to defend himself.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Monday Question Day- Traders?

Today is question day:

Do you consider yourself to be a trader (trade with other collectors)?

I usually do a couple of trades a year but I know that there are people who trade regularly and when I see these posts I think “Damn, I need to do more trades”. I think my issue is that I am rather shy in real life so I find it hard to reach out to people.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Vintage Card Of The Month: 1933 Kyriazi Cigaretters Manfred von Richthofen

This month’s VCoM is another German Richthofen card, this one is from a pack of Kyriazi cigarettes in 1933 and like many of my Richthofen cards this one is an illustration of the Baron. But the uniqueness of the card is that this image is not a common pose that you see and I have only seen used (in complete form) on the cover of the German version of his biography Der rote Kampfflieger while the English version of his biography The Red Fighter Pilot uses a more common photo of him wearing a coat and hat and facing in the different direction.

The card is standard tobacco era stock and is the height of the cards of the period but a little bit wider. The colors are beautiful and the card is in wonderful condition but there are two issues that were caused by someone, one intentional and one unintentional.  The card has been trimmed along the left and right borders, there should be a gold border on each side and they are extremely condition sensitive so someone along the way cut off the borders. The second problem was caused by the seller in his attempt to securely pack the card for shipping from Germany. The card was folded inside an index card and surrounded by cardboard that was taped together and it appears that during shipping the cardboard squeezed down around the left edge and pinched the card which caused some of the paper to rip off in the upper left edge.

I did suck it up and not complain or return the card because this card is very rare and I figured this will be a place holder until I can find something in better condition. It would have been easily avoided had the seller put the card in a rigid top loader but was happened can't be undone.

I did a translation of what is on the back and the top paragraph describes the set as having 240 German leaders from 1640 through 1918. The bottom paragraph seems to say something about the card being for a scrapbook and allowing the cigarette dealers permission to use the card.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Jon Jones Finds Himself In A Familiar Predicament

The UFC just confirmed that Jon Jones sample submitted the day before his fight against Daniel Cormier tested positive for the steroid Turinabol and he may be looking at a ban of four years since he has had prior positive tests that led to a yearlong ban.

Obviously everything will be verified before UFC makes a statement but if the test is correct and he was using steroids he will definitely be stripped of the Light-Heavyweight title that he just won from Cormier less than a month ago and will receive a multi-year ban.

Jon Jones is considered, pound for pound, to be one of the nest fighters ever and was looking forward to the possibility of a super fight versus Brock Lesnar but at this point everything that he has worked for has been tarnished.

Even with just the announcement you can expect the prices of his cards to dip and if he does get suspended you can assume that his career is over and prices for his cards will drop dramatically. I don’t own this 2010 Leaf MMA autograph card, but it has been one of my favorites of his autographs and if it drops down to a couple of bucks I would pick one up.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Beast Jr. Has Been Updated

When I ended up restoring my computer at the end of July I had made the mistake of not saving certain files on my external hard drive before starting the restore and I lost a number of files with most of them being connected to my blog as well as some art projects.

Over the past two weeks I have sat down and went through my PC collections to get everything back up to date. My Bader and Buhner collections were completed quickly being only 127 and 135 unique cards, respectively. I still need to update my Largent collection but I decided to turn to the Beast Jr first and focus on my Griffey cards because I am not hunting down any Largent cards right now so that list can wait.

It ended up taking me almost a week to go through my Griffey collection to update my Beast Jr. spreadsheet and my want list but I finally got it all completed. I have posted my Griffey want’s list, which has grown by 24 cards since I last updated my want’s list here on the blog last January.

A quick update on my health; I have met three of my five new doctors so I have been very busy over the last few months. I meet my pain specialist tomorrow, meeting new doctors always causes a bit of anxiety for me because I had a bad experience with a doctor when my health first began to decline and now I never know what to expect. Over the next couple of weeks, I have to get an MRI and EEG test along with another blood test. Not long ago I had an x-ray to see how my spinal degeneration is progressing and luckily it has only gotten slightly worse. As odd as it is, even though my spine is slowly breaking down I have grown almost a ¼ of an inch in the last year.

And for those here to see cards, here is my newest Griffey which I pulled from a pack of 2017 Stadium Club recently.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Monday Question Day- Do You Grade?

Today is question day:

Have you ever submitted a card(s) to be graded?

Which grading company do you prefer when it comes to graded cards in your collection?

I have never submitted a card to be graded, even if I had the money I have a tough time paying the excessive cost of submitting a card but I do have graded cards in my collection. When it comes to grading company, I prefer PSA or SGC for vintage cards and BGS for modern cards.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Art Gallery- 2005 Rittenhouse Archives The Munsters

This month’s Art Gallery display is a triple shot of the Munsters; Herman, Lily and Grandpa. The artists are Cris Bolson who did Herman, Dan Schaefer did Lily and Emir Ribeiro did Grandpa.

I believe these cards came from a 2005 Rittenhouse Archives The Munsters release but I can only find sketch cards and promo cards for the set so I do not know exactly how these cards were made available.

I was more a Addams Family kid but I did enjoy The Munsters so these kind of sketch cards have a sentimental aspect to them. I have been seeing Munsters sketch cards appear over the years but much of the cards are Herman, Lily and Grandpa with only a couple of Eddie and Marilyn sketch cards appearing from time to time.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Time For A Griffey Update

I reached another milestone in my Ken Griffey Jr. collection, I hit 1,300 unique cards when I picked up this 2001 Upper Deck Vintage base card a couple of weeks ago. With each one of my eBay sale I have left a bit in my Paypal account which I have used to hunt down very cheap base cards for my Griffey collection so I have been adding a couple of cards here and there.

In January 2014 is when I began to focus on my Griffey collection after adding my collection to Zistle and realized I was calling myself a Griffey collection but I only had 92 unique cards in my collection. Here is how the growth of my Griffey collection has gone since January of 2014:

January 2014 I was at 92 unique cards

January 2015 I was at 291 unique cards

January 2016 I was at 552 unique cards

January 2017 I was at 1,255 unique cards

This year has been slow going and about half of the 45 cards that I have picked up this year have come from trades with many of the rest being under $1 purchases but that is ok. Not every pickup can be a major find, I am glad to have a .35 cent card as much as a $200 card, it is all part of collecting one of the best players of our generation.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A Welcome Care Package

I just received a care package from Jon from A Penny Sleeve For Your Thoughts, which I very much so appreciate. He was wondering how I was doing and sent some cards and a DVD too.

The DVD is from the 2007 Season Ticket Holder package and includes highlights from the team’s 30-year history. It was narrated by Dave Niehaus, the voice of the Mariners from 1977 until his death in 2010, and just hearing his voice brought back some wonderful memories of watching baseball over the years. A lot of happy memories.
New additions to my Steve Kerr collection, Sonics collection and Mariners’ collections. There were more cards sent but I only scanned about half of the cards.
I have been working on my Edgar mini-pc and now I have my first Edgar relic card.

The Mariners just retried Edgar Martinez's number and in conjunction with the ceremony they did an Edgar Martinez bobble head SGA and his bat has a light on it that works. I am not a bobble head collector and have picked up only a couple of Griffey SGAs but I do plan on picking up one of the Edgar Lights Out bobble heads when they drop down to realistic prices.

The last two cards are a Buhner and Edgar 1999 Upper Deck Black Diamond Triple Diamond #/1500. I had the Buhner card on my wants list so that is a number card off the list. I haven’t built an Edgar want list yet, I am making some changes in my collection so I do plan to create one eventually.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Some Treasures Should Remain Buried

As if you needed another reason to stay FAR away from antique stores when looking for card deals here was my experience. When my daughter and I hit up some of the antique stores a few weeks back I kept an eye out for cards. Usually the cards are priced exceedingly high but I have heard of the occasional surprise deal so I look when I am already in the store.

I didn’t find much, there were only two booths in about 6 stores that we stop at where I found cards and one didn’t have prices but when I find a dirty Ziploc bag filled with mid-1980s baseball cards I know I am going to need a Bill Gates type bank account to afford it so I passed that booth quickly. 

The second booth was a collectibles booth with action figures, priced to 1990s prices, comic books, which I didn’t look through, and Hot Wheels tagged at $4 apiece for the same cars I can find in any toy aisle today. I didn’t have much hope by the time I got around to the two glass cases where the cards were kept.

I think this photo represents the prices of the contents of the cases quite well. I was surprised to see a GMA card graded anything by Gem Mint 10. I could put a card in my kid’s bike spokes and let him ride around for two weeks and send it to GMA and still get a 10 grade.

There actually was a recent sale of a GMA 8.5, two weeks ago Probstein sold one for $3.83 plus shipping.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Monday Question Day- SPs?

Today is question day:

For set collectors; do you consider a set complete without SPs or parallels?

In my mind, short prints have made set building extremely difficult and I have noticed that some set collectors will actually state that the set is complete without SPs. This is part of the reason that I no longer build sets because it seems like some sets are just quagmires sucking people in and never getting finished.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

A Lucky Pull

Yesterday I stopped by a different Walmart than the one I normally shop at to pick up something to drink and while I was at the register I looked over and saw a blaster of 2017 Topps Chrome which I know was just released and people are going crazy over it so I gave in to the dark side and picked up the blaster. 

When I pulled this card I was floored, I know it isn’t the best pull when you consider all of the possible refractors to pull but it is Aaron Judge and it is a 1 in 38 packs in retail blasters so I am super excited. I pulled a regular Judge RC two packs later and that one will remain in my collection but this reverse negative refractor is already on eBay.

Friday, August 11, 2017

COMC Keeping Us On Our Toes

 Last night I was doing COMC Challenges and empty penny sleeves kept showing up. This is the first time I saw a sleeve, I have seen receipts before but this one was new to me. The first 3 or 4 challenges I did had 6-8 sleeves in each challenge too, that was odd.

Usually I forget about the challenges but last night I put on my headphones, listened to music and just answered away. I ended up doing enough challenges to add $5 to my COMC so I am pretty stoked.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Learning A Thing About eBay's GSP Costs

One of my auctions was ending Monday and there was a bid and he emailed me and asked about the shipping. I charge $3 for shipping, which includes the card being packed in a penny sleeve, in a rigid top loader, in a team bag inside a padded mailer with tracking information and delivery confirmation.

So, when the guy told me that after he bid the shipping jumped up to $16 and he was angry with me for trying to rip him off and to cancel his bid. I assured him my shipping is $3 and that the jump in shipping cost must have been an error because I was seeing my regular shipping cost when I checked the auction. He settled down and said to not cancel his bid because he still wanted the card and it helped that I told him that if for any reason the shipping was showing up for anything over $3 I would cancel the order and just work out a trade instead.

The auction ends and I go to send the invoice and I get a message that this is an eBay Global Shipping Program (GSP) order and that the invoice is sent by eBay and I have no access to adjusting the shipping cost. I didn’t realize he was international, I probably should have checked, but in my auctions, I clearly say I do not ship internationally so this is something he should have brought up when asking about the shipping.

I emailed him and pointed out that since this was a GSP purchase I had no ability to adjust the shipping cost because it is automatically set by eBay but I still offered to cancel the order and work with him to get the card to him. Essentially offering him the card for free or for a trade but he decided he didn’t want the card anymore after the frustration. Luckily, he didn’t leave negative feedback, I had no control over the cost eBay charges so that would have been unwarranted. I have changed all my auctions to now say any international sales will be through GSP and that the shipping costs are determined by eBay, not me.

It was only a .99 cent card so this didn't turn in to a huge issue and the GSP program is nice but since it isn’t spelled out that the shipping cost will be different than what is listed by the seller it leads to situations like this. A lesson learned.  

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Will He Escape The Milk Can?

This isn’t a major coup but it is straight from my Top 10 list, the card is the Escape Artist from the 2013 Viceroy Carnival release. As a kid I was fascinated with Harry Houdini and when I saw this card the kid in me had to have it. The Viceroy Carnival base/insert cards just do not show up very often so it was a nice treat when someone put up quite a few Viceroy cards and this was one of them.

This is my fourth card from the Metal Card insert set from the release and was actually the card that got me interested in the Carnival set. It is odd that the front scanned darker than it really is in hand and the back scanned much better than it looks in hand. The backs are really hard to read but the metal cards are all limited to 25 but they are not individually serial numbered.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Bob Hepner Has Been Faking Sketch Cards

 A couple of days ago some artists called out sketch card artist Bob Hepner, also known as BC Hepner and Tattoo Bob, in an official accusation for not drawing his sketch cards and commissions. He is using a transfer process where he is editing images in Photoshop, printing them out and transferring the images directly on to the cards while in other cases he has attached the print out directly to the card, added some pencil marks or paint and is calling them “original art”. What is strange is that he has done original photorealism before and he has talent but this is just him being lazy and making money while doing the least amount of work.

This isn’t a claim to be taken lightly, there have been 20 artists who have worked with Topps, Rittenhouse, Upper Deck, Cryptozoic and Leaf who have gotten together to do individual investigation so they could compare notes before anything has been said. This is very serious in the sketch card world.

Hepner has made one rambling statement on Blowout Forums basically calling everyone a liar and he quit FB groups but he hasn’t said anything directly addressing the examples showing his work isn’t original but with this claim now out more and more people have gotten involved to show that his work isn’t hand drawn and is not original and this includes someone pulling apart his own Hepner sketch card to show that the “sketch” is actually a separate layer from the card.

This morning Brian Gray of Leaf stated that Hepner will not be involved with any future Leaf releases and he may be making an official statement release as to what Leaf will be doing regarding Hepner’s work in their sets.

You can find more information in this pdf file that was included in the announcement.

Here are just some of the examples showing Hepner’s fake work:
Image 1:
This image lines up 100% to the reference image, anyone who has ever drawn knows this is nearly impossible even for photorealism artists to do this consistently. This is just one example, there are more.
Image 2:
Same image from Image 1 but a close up showing the subjects right shoulder. Those peaks and valley cut outs are mistakes that happen in Photoshop when using the eraser tool and not smoothing it out. There is no logical reasons for these cutouts if it was drawn by hand.
Image 3:
Another example of Hepner’s work lining up exactly with the reference materials.
Image 4:
There is no question that something was attached to this card, there shouldn’t be a texture for a hand drawn sketch card and you can see where the printed out paper ends near the bottom of the card and you can see the base of the sketch card is a separate layer. Add in the full size Solo image is blurry, for a photorealism artist like Hepner claims to be that should not happen. This is a case of using a bad image before printing it out and attaching it to the card.
Image 5: 
A close up showing exactly where his printed image ends. He didn’t even try to hide or blend the obviously attached image to the card.
Image 6:
Hepner’s comic book cover is on the right, on top of the wooden table. This was a comic book he claimed he created and says it is his “original art”, he was trying to sell this on eBay recently. On the left is Adam Hughes’ comic book that was published in 2016 and you can buy it on Amazon right now.
Hepner’s book is even dated ’17 after his signature so there is no question that Hughes’ book cover was published a year before Hepner did his cover, how he felt nobody would notice this one is beyond me.

Image 7:
This is an image that someone from Blowout Forums posted showing what their Hepner sketch card looks like when it was pulled apart. Now sketch cards can be layered, mine are two layers, so that isn’t the point but you will see that beneath the top/sketch layer there is no ink transfer. If that was hand drawn, especially with the brighter reds/yellows/oranges, the colors should have soaked through to the next layer.
For comparison, here is a sketch I did earlier this year. As you can see it is those bright colors that soak through but Hepner’s card has nothing at all, which would be the case if it were printed and attached. He does some sketch lines and occasionally adds some white or black paint to make it look more artistic but this is still a case of sticking a printout on to a card.
Finally, I close with this. Hepner quit the Facebook groups he belonged to on August 3rd with this message. The statement from the artists making the claim came out on August 4th, seems odd that he would quit the day before it comes out that he is faking his art.

Sketch card artists and collectors are a pretty close knit group so things like this pass along quickly. I am not doing this to raise up a pitch fork and hunt down the evil artist, I am posting this because I am seriously disturbed by this. Some artists do use multiple mediums (John Soukup) well and that is part of the nuisances about his work and as a viewer/buyer I am seeing this knowing this is how Soukup works. Some artists use stencils and spray paint (Jason Adams and Bianca Thompson) but again, this is what we want when we look at their styles. Nobody wants to look at a photorealistic hand-drawn sketch card and purchase it not knowing it is just a print.

Since art is subjective based on the viewer so some people are ok with buying prints, but buying a print that is supposed to be hand drawn and paying the price of a hand drawn sketch card is different. Consider it this way, you buy a painting you are told was painted by Vincent van Gogh for $20 million and you hang it on your wall. You love it today but tomorrow you go to Hobby Lobby and see the exact same print as yours, same paper, same brush strokes, same backing, same frame, same everything except it is priced at $20 and you realize you just got ripped off. Do you still love your fake van Gogh? Nope, you are going to get your money back and raise some hell. That is what people paying commissions to Hepner or are buying his sketch cards should feel.